Undergraduate Contact Information

Theology Program

Dr. Bartolo Anthony Santamaria
Program Chairperson
Annunciation Center
Upper Level
Room 315

Phone: (973) 290-4338
Email: asantamaria@cse.edu

Overview & Mission

Through attention to ultimate concerns, reflective thought, critical analysis, reading, and integration of knowledge from diverse fields, the Philosophy and Theology Program advances the mission of the College of Saint Elizabeth by offering distinct degree and non-degree opportunities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. These opportunities support the development of women and men who are skilled critical thinkers and responsible moral agents, and who will continue the quest for meaning, self-realization and fulfillment as social contributors.

In Philosophy, undergraduate students are introduced to the nature of philosophical thinking and to the perennial philosophical questions concerning the nature of reality and humanity's place in reality.

In Theology, both degree and non-degree graduate and undergraduate students encounter a community of learning nourished by belief in God the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier, by the treasury of human wisdom, and by respect for the dynamics of inquiry and action.

The Philosophy and Theology Program

  • Is committed to helping students acquire an understanding of truth and value that is supportive of their complete development as persons, to assisting them in obtaining knowledge of some of the core concepts and ideas which have served to shape human civilization, and to guiding students in their development of basic principles of reasoning and method.
  • Affirms that character development is crucial for excellence in any discipline, and especially to the pursuit of wisdom, which is focus of theological and philosophical study, and to inquiry as faith seeking understanding, as well as critical reflection on religious experience.
  • Seeks to provide students with developmentally appropriate opportunities for intellectual and moral growth, as well as for spiritual growth in keeping with the Catholic concern for the dignity of each human person.
  • Serves the College by providing a distinct disciplines and unique opportunities to formulate and examine a coherent worldview, and to integrate knowledge from diverse areas of study.
  • Prepares undergraduates for participation in professional philosophical activity and for future academic study, as well as potential careers in strategic consulting and law, as well as for participation in professional theological activity and for future academic study, and offers academic formation for individuals in ministry.
  • Is committed to the examination of core values of truth, justice, and reconciliation in light of the compatibility of Revelation and reason, as well as to interfaith dialogue, and to helping students better understand and live out their respective religious commitments and traditions in recognition that respect for human dignity extends to the support for religious freedom.

Student Outcomes

The Philosophy and Theology Program provides a variety of degree and non-degree opportunities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, each with distinct learning outcomes; these opportunities include:

Undergraduate degree students in Philosophy will:

  • Convey a competent grasp of the four core disciplines of philosophy: metaphysics, logic, epistemology, and ethics\moral philosophy.
  • Acquire knowledge of the History of Philosophy, its major contributors and movements; and they will develop a basic familiarity with resources in this area.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the nature of the human person, and theories about meaning of human existence

Undergraduate degree students in Theology will:

  • Identify the central Catholic Christian teachings and correlate these with the religious language, concepts, imagery and critical questions central to the Christian study of scripture, doctrine and morality. These will be assessed by course examinations.
  • Recognize the role of religious faith in the life of the human person and its impact on both humankind and other kind in the development of appropriate moral, intellectual and spiritual awareness through encounter with Catholic Christian teaching and praxis. These will be assessed by an evaluation of class participation, presentations and written reflections.
  • Demonstrate basic familiarity and appropriate use of scholarly and catechetical resources which will be assessed through the student's producing quality research papers and catechetical projects.
  • Recognize the major events and movements within Christianity and understand the importance of respect and dialogue between Catholic Christianity and other religious traditions and communities.

Ministry certificate students will:

  • Convey a basic understanding of Scripture and revelation, as well as skills in Scriptural literacy and interpretation.
  • Exhibit a fundamental knowledge of central theologies, including Christological and Trinitarian Theology, Theology of Church, Liturgical Theology, Theology of Ministry, Sacramental Theology, and Theology of the Human Person.
  • Demonstrate a coherent grasp of ethical theories, principles, and application, as well as an informed capacity for sound decision making and moral responsibility
  • Develop personal and pastoral awareness and skills, such as familiarity with ecumenical and inter-faith interactions, information literacy, organizational leadership, and life-cycle issues.
  • Articulate a vision of Catholic faith and demonstrate growth in understanding of self as a minister an adult person of faith and formation-driven activities and interactions.

Graduate Theology students will demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the core areas of theology, inclusive of Christian thought and praxis by being able to:

  • Situate and appraise the doctrinal, spiritual and ethical developments in theology, including Catholic Social Teaching, ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue, as evidenced through the Comprehensive Assessment Process.
  • Read and assess scholarly texts by being able to identify the author’s project and thesis, relevant arguments and correlate these with the factors important to various contexts.
  • Recognize and classify differences in theological thought and apply the methodology appropriate to each of the major areas of theology as specified on syllabi.
  • Construct a theological essay bringing research to written expression in a coherent, analytical fashion.

The Ethics Studies Minor and Certificate is an interdisciplinary and multifaceted program of study providing integrated and substantive training in ethics, meta-ethics, moral philosophy, and moral theology. The program includes the examination of both moral theory and application.

In conjunction with the DePaul Center for Mission and Ministry, the Program provides certificate programs for those interested in preparing for various church ministries. To meet the needs of the students, we offer classes on campus, at off-site locations in New Jersey, and totally online. These programs are designed for those currently serving in parish ministry roles, those wanting to prepare for ministry roles, and those wishing to come for their own personal growth and development. Certificate programs include pastoral internship and formation components. The certificate credits may be transferred into other programs of study leading to baccalaureate degrees.


The Program also offers those who are not pursuing philosophy or theology degrees or certificates an introduction to reasoned thought and theological concepts.

Students completing the degree in philosophy or theology are equipped with the background to succeed in advanced educational pursuits, and professional careers.

If a student is preparing for Church ministries, such as Pastoral Ministry, Youth Ministry, Faith Formation, and Pastoral Administration, the Theology major provides the theological foundations for active involvement in Church life, both professional and otherwise.

In addition, the emphasis on rigorous and creative thinking in Philosophy or Theology will enable one to enter higher level training in a variety of professional fields, including:

  • Higher Education
  • Law

  • Literature
  • Philosophical or Theological research and writing

Graduates from the Philosophy and Theology Program have gone on to become:

  • Chaplains
  • Directors of women's rights organizations
  • Editors
  • Lawyers
  • Pastoral ministers
  • Physicians

  • Religious education coordinators
  • Researchers
  • Strategic consultants
  • Teachers
  • Youth ministers

More than half of CSE philosophy and theology graduates go on to receive graduate degrees.

Theology Program

Requirements for the Master of Arts in Theology – Traditional Option

The M.A. in Theology is a 36-credit program which consists of a core of courses (18-21 credits), complemented by electives (15-18 credits). Though a broad curriculum has been designed, students have some flexibility to shape their program to fit their interests and needs, with approval from their faculty advisor. This may include taking coursesin the Summer Institute of the Center for Theological and Spiritual Development (three credits maximum), or coursesat other accredited institutions. No student may earn more than nine credits in this fashion.

To receive the M.A. degree, each student must accomplish the following:

  • Complete 36 credits in theology, with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0. Since the program isdesigned as a part-time program of study, our students usually complete the program between four and six years. (For a more accelerated program of study, see the Low-Residency Option below.)
  • Submit three research papers from courses taken in the program as a final requirement. With the guidance of a faculty advisor, expand and deepen these papers as evidence of ability to research and present theological topicsin an in-depth, competent and scholarly manner. Ordinarily, the papers will be 15 typed pages, double-spaced, including bibliography. An accepted style sheet is to be adhered to throughout the program of study.
  • With recommendations from the student, 2-3 faculty members (full-time and adjunct) will participate in a one-hour conversation about the papers presented. The faculty will then assess a grade of Pass, Fail, or Pass with Distinction.

Admission Requirements

  • Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and a cumulative GPA of not less than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Transfer of credits in theology will be subject to evaluation and approval by the program Director. All transfer graduate credits must carry a minimum 3.0 grade on a 4.0 scale.
  • Each candidate will have a personal interview with the Coordinator of the M.A. in Theology Course of Study and another faculty member.

Additional Admission Criteria for the M.A. in Theology

If an applicant for the Master of Arts in Theology at the College of Saint Elizabeth appears to have gaps in education, especially in theological background, appropriate strategies will be required before full admission. All candidates for this degree program must also demonstrate competence in writing and doing research before full admission into the program.

Academic Progress

The Traditional M.A. in Theology is designed for part-time, rather than full-time students. Ordinarily, a student will complete the degree program in four years. A student coming to the completion of the M.A. degree program isrequired to have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better. For a more accelerated format, please see the details of the Low Residency Option below.

Requirements for the Master of Arts in Theology – Low Residency Option

The new low-residency model is designed for students residing at long distances away from campus who wish to complete the degree through a sequence of one-week residencies followed by periods of directed reading and research. The basic features of the low residency option include:

  • 29 Month Program
  • 36 Credits
  • Five residency weeks
  • Six Directed Readings
  • Summer Institute Option
  • Three Research Papers (completed during designated periods when the students are not completing direct readings)

Low-Residency Format:

Students will complete 6 to 9 credits in each six-month period: two campus Residency Weeks in January and June/July followed by two Directed Reading periods in each of the Spring and Fall semesters. In three designated semestersstudents will take only one Directed Reading course and complete a major research project. This accounts for 36 credits. Students may opt to fulfill the final three credits by registering for three consecutive 1-credit Summer Institute courses or by completing an additional Directed Reading (see Program Description above).

There are two entry points: students may begin with either the first summer or the first January residency. Individualswho begin in the Low Residency Option may also opt to transfer into the traditional option upon approval of the faculty. Students entering the program will choose one of four tracks: Catholic Studies, Pastoral Care, Spirituality, or Theological Studies to advance on in the degree.

Program Requirements Per Track

Catholic Studies

  • THEO617 Theological Foundations (3)
  • THEO603 History of Christianity (3)
  • PHIL631 Catholic Intellectual Tradition (3)
  • THEO627 Catholic Moral Theology (3)
  • THEO605 Mystery of God (3)
  • THEO609 Scriptural Interpretation (3)
  • Ecclesiology Choose one:

    • THEO615 Mystery of Church (3), or
    • THEO656 Church in an Age of Plurality (3)

15 credit electives

Pastoral Care

  • THEO617 Theological Foundations (3)
  • THEO605 Mystery of God (3)
  • THEO609 Scriptural Interpretation (3)
  • THEO619 Liturgical Theology (3)
  • THEO625 Ministry & Ministries (3)
  • PSY660 Counseling & Spirituality (3)
  • Ethics (choose one)

    • MC626 Ethical Issues in Human Ecclesiology: Services Leadership (3), or
    • THEO627 Catholic Moral Theology (3), or
    • THEO663 Spirituality & Ethics (3), or

15 credits electives


  • THEO617 Theological Foundations (3)
  • THEO605 Mystery of God (3)
  • THEO609 Scriptural Interpretation (3)
  • THEO641 Mysticism & Spirituality (3)
  • THEO659 Aesthetics & Spirituality
  • THEO663 Spirituality & Ethics (3)
  • THEO674 Spiritualities & Charity

15 credits electives

Theological Studies

  • THEO617 Theological Foundations (3)
  • THEO609 Scriptural Interpretation (3)
  • THEO605 Mystery of God (3)
  • THEO619 Liturgical Theology (3)
  • Ecclesiology (choose one):

    • THEO615 Mystery of the Church (3)
    • THEO656 Church in an Age of Plurality (3)

  • Ethics (choose one):

    • MC626 Ethical Issues in Human Services Leadership (3), or
    • THEO627 Catholic Moral Theology (3), or
    • THEO663 Spirituality & Ethics (3)

18 credits electives